ASRS 2023: WinR Luncheon with Dr. Lisa Nijm

Emily Cole, MD, MPH
Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan
Ann Harbor, MI

The Women in Retina luncheon was one of three events put on by Women in Retina as part of the annual ASRS meeting, which also featured an engaging case conference and energizing morning yoga session. The keynote speaker was Lisa Nijm, MD, JD, who shared her diverse experience as CEO of Women in Ophthalmology, founder of Real World Ophthalmology, as well as her leadership in her own practice in Warrenville, IL, in an interactive lecture focused on effective negotiation. She started by highlighting common pitfalls by females – not asking for something before feeling qualified for it, approaching negotiations with avoidance or dread – while also acknowledging the reality that an aggressive approach to negotiation may not lead to the desired outcomes. Ultimately, she encouraged all in the audience to view negotiation as a skill that can be practiced with intention, and that it should be viewed as a way for both parties to find the most mutually beneficial situation through shared conversations.

She shared a set of tips for planning an effective negotiation:

  1. Define your objectives: Identify your main goal and secondary objectives
  2. Know your value: List your strengths and unique skills and explain how your background and experience contribute to the negotiation
  3. Understand the other party: Research the other party’s interests, needs, and priorities. Anticipate their potential objections and concerns.
  4. Set your ideal outcome: Describe your ideal outcome, and define a realistic but ambitious target you want to achieve
  5. Determine your BATNA*: Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement
  6. Identify common ground: List areas of mutual interest and explain how you can create value for both parties
  7. Plan your opening statement: Craft a clear and compelling opening statement, highlight your strengths and what you bring to the table
  8. Practice active listening: Have a listening strategy and prepare questions in advance
  9. Develop your responses: Identify potential objections and challenges, and prepare thoughtful and persuasive responses to address these concerns
  10. Use principled negotiation
  11. Remain calm and confident: Emotional management, plan strategies to stay composed and confident
  12. Determine concession strategies: List concessions you are willing to make, establish your boundaries and determine when to walk away
  13. Practice, practice, practice!
  14. Review and reflect: After the negotiation, review what worked well and what could be improved, identify lessons learned

Negotiation skills are life skills and important for every physician to learn, and participants left the workshop empowered with the skills to prepare for their next negotiation, whether as small as negotiating with a child or as big as negotiating your next contract.

Dr. Nijm organizes the Real World Ophthalmology (, a virtual meeting where physicians come together to discuss topics such as negotiation and beyond. She conducts negotiation skills workshops for residency programs and organizations. She can be reached at for any questions.